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Alternative Recharge Systems

Prospects of Artificial Recharge for Augmentation of the Upper Dupi Tila Aquifer in Dhaka City, Bangladesh
S. SULTANA K. M. AHMED AND M. B. MIA Department of Geology, University of Dhaka, Curzon Hall Campus Dhaka1000, Bangladesh;

Abstract Dhaka, the 10th largest megacity of the world, is facing severe shortages of water despite receiving an annual rainfall in access of 2000 mm/year. Unplanned urban development due to rapid population growth has been the cause of encroachment on retention and natural drainage areas creating obstacles to natural recharge to the aquifers beneath the city. This study attempts to evaluate the prospects of artificial recharge to augment the depleting aquifer storage by way of identifying the potential zones for the implementation of site-specific artificial-recharge techniques using GIS analysis. Satellite image analysis and GIS mapping reveal that about 36.33% of the city area allows natural recharge at present conditions which is much lower compared to the heavy abstractions for municipal and industrial supplies. Historical data show sufficient rainwater is available during the monsoon which can be used as a source of artificial recharge. If the rainwater is diverted directly to the subsurface from the roofs, there should not be any major quality concern. There is a thick dewatered zone in the depleted upper Dupi Tila aquifer which can provide enough storage space for artificial recharge. Based on the clay thickness, depth to aquifer, groundwater level, rainfall distribution pattern, lithology and hydraulic properties of the Madhupur clay, four potential zones for artificial recharge have been identified where various infiltration methods can be implemented to augment aquifer storage. However, pilot studies are necessary to confirm the findings of this mapping exercise. Key words: Dupi Tila Aquifer; Artificial Recharge; Dhaka Mega city; GIS; Madhupur Clay. INTRODUCTION Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh (Figure 1a), has a population of about 15 million who mainly depend on groundwater for municipal water supply. The pressure on ground water continues to rise to meet the exponential rise in water demand. About 86% of the present municipal water supply comes from groundwater sources with the remainder supplied from surface water sources (DWASA, 2008). Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) produces 1.6 Mm3/d of groundwater through nearly 500 deep wells drilled in the upper and lower Dupi Tila aquifers. Exponential growth in the number of wells and estimated accumulated pumping volumes give an impression of an overexploitation rather than managed abstractions. The problem has been further compounded by large-scale urbanization in the low lying areas which has reduced open lands available for natural recharge significantly. The mechanism of groundwater recharge of Dhaka city is not well understood and needs to be further investigated. However, it has been reported that the recharge is primarily by topographically-driven vertical leakage through the Madhupur Clay (Hasan et al 1998). Radical changes in groundwater recharge regime have been reported in other parts of the world due to increase in paved area (Lerner, 1990). Filling up the wetlands and natural drainage channels for urban development is also reducing the recharge area and thus vertical recharge significantly. The rate of water table decline has reached up to 3.5 m/year in the central part of the city, and the upper Dupi Tila aquifer has changed from initial confined conditions to unconfined conditions due to these over-abstractions (DWASA and IWM, 2008). The decline in water levels is also making Dhaka more vulnerable to ground subsidence. Decline in water levels has also caused increased drilling and pumping costs as wells need to be installed in deeper and deeper levels. If the unrestricted withdrawal of groundwater continues, it

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Alternative Recharge Systems will not only affect the citys future water supply, but will increase the risk of earthquakes induced ground subsidence of the clay soil cap on which Dhaka is developed. In the backdrop of extremely high demand of this natural resources, it is of paramount importance to artificially recharge the depleted aquifer to augment the over exploited resources and to mitigate the associated adverse impacts. Different techniques of artificial recharge are available that could provide a management option to overcome this critical situation. Available studies on artificial recharge indifferent regions of India under similar climatic and geologic conditions like Dhaka have been reviewed to evaluate the potentiality of artificial recharge in Dhaka city. ARTIFICIAL RECHARGE, ITS REQUIREMENTS, NECESSITY AND TECHNIQUES The concept of artificial recharge has been known for a long time. The practice began in Europe during the early nineteenth century. However, the practice has rarely been adopted on a large scale, with most large-scale applications being found in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, and USA. In India, the applicability of artificial recharge technologies has been evaluated through a number of studies conducted by the Central Ground Water Board and the State Ground Water Boards (CGWB, 2000). The basic purpose of artificial recharge of groundwater is to replenish aquifers depleted by excessive withdrawal. Artificial recharge is one of the supplemental means available to restore declining groundwater levels and to reduce risk of land subsidence. It can also be implemented in areas where saline water intrusion takes place. The amount of natural recharge varies greatly from region to region and within the same region from place to place depending upon the amount and pattern of rainfall, characteristics of soils and rocks, terrain conditions and other climatic factors. As a result, availability of water from subsurface storages has considerable geographic variation. Advantages of artificial recharge are many. It doesnt require large storage structures and enhances the dependable yield without evaporation loses. It Improves water quality by dilution and natural attenuation processes. There is no risk of surface inundation and thereby no displacement of local population and loss of crops. Artificial recharge is environment friendly and economically viable and cost-effective. It also utilizes and reduces the surplus surface runoff and thus also helps in reducing the storm runoff disposal challenges in cities. A prime prerequisite for artificial recharge is the availability of source water, which is assessed by analyzing the seasonal rainfall-runoff pattern. Detailed geological and hydrological knowledge of the area is necessary for delineating the recharge capture zones and the type of recharge system. Factors such as geological boundaries, hydraulic boundaries, inflows and outflows of surface waters, storage capacity, porosity, hydraulic conductivity, transmissivity, natural discharge of springs, water resources available for recharge, natural recharge, water balance, lithology, depth of the aquifer and water table, and tectonic boundaries need to be considered. The availability of sub-surface storage space and its replenishment capacity ultimately govern the potential extent of recharge. Artificial recharge techniques can be broadly divided between surface and subsurface methods. Typically, unconfined aquifers are recharged by surface methods, whereas confined aquifers are generally recharged through subsurface injections. Surface methods require relatively flat or gently sloping lands, while topography has little effect on subsurface recharge methods. Dense urban and industrial concentrations may result in subsurface artificial recharge schemes as the preferred option. Subsurface injection methods like injection wells, shafts or small pits require highly controlled water supplies and little land area. In this study, an attempt has been made to identify zones favorable for the application and implementation of site-specific artificial-recharge techniques for augmentation of groundwater through GIS mapping.

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Alternative Recharge Systems TOPOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE OF DHAKA Topographically Dhaka is almost flat with many depressions. The elevation is between 2 to 13 m above the mean sea level. The city is characterized by subtropical to tropical monsoon climate. The long-term mean annual rainfall is over 2,000 mm, and about 8090% of this occurs during the monsoon (MayOctober) and average evaporation ranges from 80 to 130 mm/month. GEOLOGY AND AQUIFER SYSTEM Dhaka lies at the southern edge of the Plio-Pleistocene Madhupur Tract and surrounded by four rivers (Figure1b). Stratigraphically, the area is characterized by an unconsolidated sequence of fluvio-deltaic deposits hundreds of meters thick that are usually composed of gravels, sands, silts and clays of Plio-Pleistocene age. The Madhupur Clay formation, which is composed of characteristically red plastic clay to silty clay and silt, is unconformably overlain by alluvial deposits and is underlain by fine to coarse-grained micaceous, quartzo-feldspathic sands of the Pliocene Dupi Tila formation. The low lying areas along the edges of the tract are covered by Holocene alluvial silt and clay and marshy clay (Figure 1b).

Figure 1 (a) Map showing the regional setup of Bangladesh and location of Dhaka city and (b) Surface geology of the city The multi-layered Dupi Tila formation is the principal aquifer underneath the Dhaka city area. It is effectively confined by the semi-pervious Madhupur Clay. Based on grain-size distribution of the aquifer materials and hydraulic properties, the aquifers can be separated in to three units; the Upper Dupi Tila Aquifer-1, Upper Dupi Tila Aquifer-2 and Lower Dupi Tila Aquifer (DWASA and IWM, 2008) (Figure 2).

Madhupur Clay

Figure 2 Aquifer System in Dhaka city

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Alternative Recharge Systems METHODS Advanced Space borne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data acquired in November 2004 has been used to generate a potential recharge area map. ERDAS Imagine 9.1 image analysis software has been used to process the image. Major land cover classes have been digitized by ArcGIS 9.2 mapping package using visual interpretation (Figure 3b). A contour map of clay thickness was prepared based on the borehole logs from DWASA wells. Mean depth to groundwater level of 2006 for the upper aquifer has been mapped based on data from 29 observation wells of Bangladesh Water Development Board. Historical average annual rainfall data for 15 rain gauges collected from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department have been analyzed to produce an isohyetal map. The thematic layers were then ranked, reclassified, and overlaid and analyzed in a GIS environment. Based on this analysis, the Dhaka area has been divided into four zones according to the potentiality for artificial recharge. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS Recharge Area map Five major land cover classes were identified to prepare the potential recharge area map: (1) open or unpaved area (vegetation reflection), (2) open area (sand reflection), (3) low-lying area (depression), (4) natural water body (beside periphery) and (5) water body (Figure 3b). The map reveals that the recharge area in Dhaka city extends over 110 km2 within the total city area of 300 km2 i.e. 36% of the city is acting as recharge area. A major portion (about 40%) of the total recharge area map comprises of natural water bodies followed by a small proportion of open areas having sand reflections. Clay Thickness Map The thickness of upper clay increases from west to east in Dhaka City (Figure 3b). This layer is much thicker in the north-middle and southeast portion of the city and ranges from 30 to 40 m and reaches up to 50 m to some locations. It ranges from 10 to 20m in the north-western parts except Mirpur area. In the southern part of the study area, the thickness of upper clay layer also ranges between 10 and 20m. A comparatively think clay layer (<10m thick) has been mapped at the southern middle portion. Depth to Groundwater Level Depth to water level has reached to more than 60m in three spots, viz. Mirpur, Dhanmodi and Sabujbagh in the city (Figure 3a). Water level depth is about 40 to 50m in the middle part such as Tejgaon, Motijheel and Ramna; and 20 to 30m in the areas like Sutrapur which is close to the river Buriganga. Rainfall Distribution map The major portion of the city receives rainfall in the amount from 1950 to 2000 mm whereas the northern part is characterized by comparatively low rainfall. There is a pattern of increasing rainfall from north to south of the city (Figure 3a).

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Alternative Recharge Systems

Figure 3 (a) Depth to groundwater level and rainfall distribution contour Map in and around Dhaka city (b) Recharge area map with classes and clay thickness contour map of the study area. Suitability and applicability of Artificial Recharge in Dhaka The evaluation of the potential aquifer areas requires data on the thickness and lateral extent of unsaturated zone, which control the total volume potentially available for recharge. Fine-grained Upper Dupi Tila Aquifer 1 is approximately 4050 m thick and occurs at a depth of 8 to over 45 m below the ground surface. The coarse-grained Upper Dupi Tila Aquifer 2 is approximately 80 m thick (Ahmed et al 2010). Upper part of the Dupi Tila Aquifer 1 has already been dewatered. The permeability, transmissivity and storage coefficient of the aquifer is 15-30m/day, 500-2000m2/day and 710-6 to 510-5 respectively (Ahmed, 1999) which indicate good hydraulic properties for the storage and transmission of water. The Dupi Tila aquifer can be considered as "warehouse" for storing substantial quantity of water as a significant part of it has been dewatered already (Hoque et al, 2007). The aquifer can also serve a conduit function, which could reduce the cost of an intensive surface water conveyance system. The upper aquifer is most suitable for artificial recharge as it provides the necessary permeability and storage space. The Madhupur Clay mainly consists of kaolinite and illite with very small amount of illite-smectite down to 5 m depth (Nairuzzaman et al, 2000). The coefficient of permeability is related to the amount of illite-smectite mixed-layer clay minerals. The vertical permeability of the Dupi Tila aquifer varies from 6.5x10-4 to 1.5x10-2 m/day (DWASA, 2008). The Madhupur Clay can thus neither yield significant amounts of water to wells nor transmit appreciable water to the aquifer below. So any artificial recharge scheme in Dhaka must penetrate the clay rather than trying to regulate recharge through it. About 36% of the city is acting as natural recharge area, which is insufficient to meet the rate of discharge through hundreds of municipal and industrial wells and this area is being reduced continuously due to rapid increase in urban development. Over-draft conditions have formed a major depression in groundwater levels at Mirpur, Dhanmondi and Shabujbag areas. The continuous decline of the water level with little or no fluctuation is typical of overexploited aquifers and requires groundwater augmentation as reductions in abstractions is not feasible.

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Alternative Recharge Systems The average annual rainfall of Dhaka city is about 2000mm which is enough to supply water needed for artificial recharge. Rain water collected from rooftops of the buildings can be used for this purpose. According to Statistical Year Book (BBS, 2006) the city has about 678,000 concrete roofs. If we consider the area of each roof is 110 m2, about 75 km2 roof area is available to catch rainwater. Considering the annual average rainfall, more than 400 MLD of rain water will be available to recharge the aquifer artificially. If 60 % of this water can be collected, then more than 200 MLD water will be available for recharging the aquifer. There are about 265 abandoned wells in the city which can potentially be used as injection wells for artificial recharge. CONCLUSIONS RECOMMENDATIONS At present about 36% of the city is acting as natural recharge area which is insufficient to maintain the dynamic equilibrium in groundwater levels at current rates of pumping. Recharge area is being continuously decreased due to rapid urban development to cope with the ever increasing population growth. Four potential zones have been identified for artificial recharges to increase aquifer storage is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Map showing the potential zones favorable for various AR techniques.

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Alternative Recharge Systems Zone 1 is delineated where clay thickness is 0 to 10 m and open area is available. Zone 2 is the region where thickness of clay is 10 to 15 m and water bodies are available very close to it. Zone3 and 4 have 15 to 25 m and 25 to 50 m of clay respectively. Where the clay is thick, artificial recharge has to introduce using injection wells. The results of this investigation indicate that Dhaka has high potential for artificial recharge, which can play a critical role in maintaining a sustainable water supply for the city dwellers. Remote sensing data, conventional geological data, and GIS overlay analyses combinely provide a powerful and practical approach to identify potential zones for artificial recharge. The applicability of various techniques in the identified zones need to be assessed by pilot studies and if successful has to be adopted as a management option to augment the depleting groundwater resources of Dhaka aquifers and also to avoid adverse environmental impacts. References Ahmed, K. M., Hassan, M. K., Burgess, W. G., Dottridge, J., Ravenscroft, P., van Wonderen, J. J. (1999). The Dupi Tila quifer of Dhaka, Bangladesh: Hydraulic and hydrochemical response to intensive exploitation, In: Chilton (ed.) Groundwater in the Urban Environment: Selected City Profiles, Balkema, and Rotterdam. Ahmed, K. M., Islam, M. S., Sultana, S. (2010) Changes in the Groundwater Regime of Dhaka City: A Historical Perspective, Asiatic Society Bangladesh. BBS, (2006) Statistical Year Book CGWB (2000). Guide on artificial recharge to groundwater. (Technical series M; no. 3). New Delhi, India, Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Water Resources. CGWB, ,(2000), International Hydrological Programme (IHP),United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural OrganizationRain Water Harvesting and Artificial Recharge to Ground Water, A Guide to follow, Ministry of Water Resources DWASA (2008). Management Information Report for the month of May 2008, Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, Dhaka, Bangladesh. DWASA and IWM (2008) Resource assessment and monitoring of water supply sources for Dhaka city, Final report on resource assessment, volume2. Hasan, M. K., Ahmed, K. M., Burgess, W. G., Dottridge, J., and Asaduzzaman, M. (1998). Limits on the sustainable development of the Dupi Tila aquifer, Bangladesh, In: Hydrogeology in a changing environment, Volume II, British Geological Society, p.186-194. Hoque M. A., Hoque, M.M., Ahmed, K.M. (2007): Declining Groundwater Level and Aquifer Dewatering in Dhaka Metropolitan Area, Bangladesh: Causes and Quantification, Hydrogeology Journal, Springer-Verlag, DOI. 1007/s10040-007-0226-5. Lerner, D. N., 1990. Groundwater Recharge in Urban Areas. Hydrological Processes and Water Management in Urban Areas (Proceedings of the Duisberg Symposium, April 1988). IAHS Publ. no. 198, pp. 59-66. . Nairuzzaman, M., Haque, M.E., and Rahman, M.J.J. (2000). Influence of Clay minerals on Consolidation Behavior of Madhupur Clay: A case Study from Some Samples of Greater Dhaka City, Bangladesh Geoscience Journal, volume 6, 2000.

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